Appointeeship and deputyship
If someone loses the capacity to manage their finances, for example due to dementia or a severe stroke, and has not made arrangements in advance, another person can become a deputy or an appointee to take responsibility for their financial affairs.
Whether Deputyship or Appointeeship is the best option will depend on the person's financial circumstances.
An appointee is responsible for managing a person's benefits, and also for paying bills and managing a small and limited amount of savings in case of unforeseen circumstances. Appointeeship may be the best course of action if the person has a low level of financial assets, is in receipt of benefits and doesn't have any other sources of income.
How to become an appointee
The government's website explains more about appointeeship and about how to apply.
Applications are made to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), usually by telephone initially. What you need to do will depend on the type of benefit being received.
- Attendance Allowance - contact the disability benefits helpline
- Disability Living Allowance - contact the disability benefits helpline
- State Pension - contact your local pension centre
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - contact the PIP new claims line
- Tax credits - complete the appointeeship section on the Tax Credits form
- All other benefits - contact Jobcentre Plus
The DWP will then arrange to visit the claimant to assess if an appointee is needed, and interview you to make sure you're a suitable appointee. The interviewer will help you to fill out an appointee application form.
If your application to become an appointee is successful, DWP will send you Form BF57, which confirms you've been formally appointed to act for the claimant. You're not the appointee until you have received this form, even if you have been told that your application has been successful.
If the person's financial affairs are more complicated (for example if they have additional sources of income, investments, or significant savings), then an application for Deputyship is the best option.
A deputy undertakes responsibility for the management of all of a person's financial affairs if they become incapable of doing so themselves, including savings, pensions, all sources of income, and assets such as property and valuables.
How to become a deputy
Applications for Deputyship are made to the Court of Protection. Depending on your circumstances, there may be fees to pay to make the application.
Find more information about making an application for Deputyship.
If there is nobody available or eligible to become an appointee or deputy for a person who has lost capacity, it is possible for the local authority's Client Affairs Team to take on this role, or apply to the Court of Protection for a professional person to be appointed.
Referrals to this service are normally made by a care manager or social worker following an assessment of the needs of the individual concerned by the local council, which will allow them do decide whether the person needs assistance in looking after their affairs
The Money Advice Service website provides advice on helping another person to manage their money.
If you are struggling to manage your money and pay for things by yourself then Pay Your Way offers a guide on safe ways in which you can allow other people to pay for things on your behalf, whilst still staying in control of your finances.
The Alzheimers Society has produced a Dementia-friendly Financial Services Charter which promotes the rights of people with dementia, and aims to ensure that providers of independent financial services do not take advantage of them and / or sell them products which they do not need.
The Which website offers advice on all aspects of looking after someone's affairs.